kaaGhazi hai pairahan har paikar-e tasveer ka
Robed in paper are all pictures manifest:
this world is nothing but
by Huma Dar for my N, Z, many Shahids, and the One
The moon did not become the sun. It just fell on the desert in great sheets, reams of silver handmade by you. The night is your cottage industry now, the day is your brisk emporium. The world is full of paper.
Write to me. —Agha Shahid Ali, “Stationery”
The tilted goblet drips
liquid lunatic luminous.
And makes a slippery mess
of Highway 1
memory and desire —
relentless, ebon, a plumbless
dream of falling.
Like tresses distraught
entwining your imagined arm (make the bleeding black night all yours) your aching memories knotted in my gut
my exiled ghost lost, found
and willfully entangled
in the lines of your words
your stone-cold feet in my shaalfa —
an ablution performed in blood.
It’s always dangerous to declare generalised love for a movement or school of thought – including Sufism, because Sufism can be subdivided into spirit and tradition, into various orders and popular customs, into the sober and the drunk, the vocal and the silent, the revolutionary and the tame. Still, I’ll say I love it for its symbolic, illogical, individualist challenge to literalism and the obsession with rules, and because it smiles, and for its openness and tolerance, and its music and poetry; because, as Adonis says: “Sufism has laid the foundations for a form of writing that is based upon subjective experience in a culture that is generally based on established religious knowledge.”